Sod removal help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by johnnyar, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. johnnyar

    johnnyar LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 4

    First off, great site! Wish I would have found this years ago. I've searched some of the older posts but can't seem to get a clear answer. I've been mowing for years but this is my first request for sod removal and I really don't know what to charge. 2 small areas need to be removed (18x5 and 18x12) for a total of 306 sqf and then they want it tilled so they can start a garden. My costs involved would be tiller and cutter rental (about 180 full day for both), and dumping the old sod. Since I really don't know how long it will take I'd rather charge by sqf as I've read in other posts. .50 per foot too much? So my figures put me at 180 plus 30 to dump, plus 153 or so to remove the sod. What should I charge to till? I don't want to rip them off but I don't want to rip myself off as well. I'm located outside of Columbus, Oh and not sure where to dump either. Any help is greatly appreciated.
  2. Albery's Lawn & Tractor

    Albery's Lawn & Tractor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,674

    F&*$ cutting that little bit of sod up. I would just till it and rake out the grass. Cutting sod and rolling it up is hard ass work. Maybe $200-250 total, only a few hours of work should be easy.
  3. johnnyar

    johnnyar LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 4

    LOL.. I agree.. The customer is the one that wanted it cut :(
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    You can run a sod cutter but make sure the soil is moist.

    18" Sod Cutting about 500 Sf/ Hour.
    Tilling with a walk behind about 1200 sf / hour

    Then add the loading and hauling cost.

    Are you adding any amendments?

    I would add about 3 inches of high quality ammendments and till to a depth of 6 inches.

    Sounds like you will have more in equipment rentals than you will in actual work. Rent Sod Cutter for 1/2 day take it back and rent the tiller for 1/2 day. Don't for get your rental cost.
  5. johnnyar

    johnnyar LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 4

    No, not adding anything. The owner knows how to do it, what they want but basically doesn't have the transportation to do it. Yeah, I figured the rental is going to eat up a ton of costs. Really doesn't seem worth the time but it's a newer development and could get me in the door to more potential mowing clients. So is the .50 a sqf too much to charge on sod removal and then .30 a sqf for till? Just need a baseline. I hate charging by the hour. Oh yeah... soil is moist here.
  6. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    I would charge no less than $1 per foot for removal and disposal. For tilling charge enough to cover time and expense. Bottom line, you have to cover your costs and get paid adequately for your time. If this puts the price out of the customer's range, so be it. Let them try to find someone cheaper. This is an old cliche, but it's better to be broke at the end of the day than tired and broke. IMO sod cutting and rolling up 300 sf of sod is not that big a deal.
  7. Kaskov

    Kaskov LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    Hell 300 sq ft hardly is a task. If you did actually rent a sod cutter to cut that small a section, you'll be able to cut it up in literally 10 minutes, so do yourself a favor and save yourself some money by renting that sod cutter for the most minimum time they have available.(Home Depot rents them out for $69 w/tax for 4 hours) If you could rent one out for an hour for cheaper then that, then I would jump on that.

    Two weeks ago I sod cut my back lawn of nearly 5,000 sq ft. From there I rented a 10 yd dumpster and humped all of the cut up sod into there.(killer!!!)
    If that's not enough, I just got done spreading out 15 yds of top soil over the 5,000 sq ft I'm working on, with shovel and wheel barrow (BY MYSELF!)

    I would ask for no less then $1 a yard.
  8. MaidstoneLandscape

    MaidstoneLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    If you dont have the equipment and know how then leave the job to someone that does. Its not worth it to under price yourself and drive down industry standards. I see it all the time, that a company tries to go from lawn maintenance to landscaper and dont have the knowledge or experience to price and all they accomplish is to drive down prices and put themselves out of business
  9. rwilliams23

    rwilliams23 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Hello yall! This site is full of professional insight in to the lawn care industry. I have a question though. I have this client who wants new sod installed; but I am not sure what to charge her for the work. She has roughly 500 sf of space. I found out that the sod would be .35 cents per sf. Comes to around 175.00 plus 5.00 per pallet. Trying to figure out how much to charge with out cheating her and myself. Please advise. All comments are welcome.
  10. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    Estimate how much time it's going to take in hours. Figure out how much it cost you an hour to operate. Now figure out how much profit you want to make. Multiple the first two and add or multiple the percentage of the last. Add how much the supplies and disposal. This is what you charge.

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